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Old 12-17-2012, 10:21 PM   #1
oboelestoe
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Default 1st post - Yeast starter question

Hi all,
So I'm doing my first brew right now, an oatmeal stout, and I have a question about my yeast starter. I snooped around at the stickies and stuff first, but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. So, I started my yeast in a sanitized glass jar, laid some plastic wrap lightly over it, which seemed to be giving it some air and put it in a warm place. Now, here comes the hitch: I started the yeast around 10 am and didn't pitch it until around 1 pm. Now, about 30 hours into fermentation, I'm not seeing any activity in my air lock. So I am just wondering if it sat too long or something? I know I am being a worry-wart (or is it worry-wort, in these circles?), but a bit of encouragement/reassurance would be appreciated! Thanks so much! What a great community! Cheers!


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Old 12-17-2012, 10:34 PM   #2
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Don't worry.
The yeast starter is probably fine. We can go into yeast starting methods at some point if you want, but yours should be fine. My only question would be what do you mean by a warm place? Most yeast don't like it very warm.

As for seeing activity in the air lock, you don't always. Mine tend to be pretty active but lots of the time there isn't much activity.

Just today I read about someone who did 10 gallons, split it into two 5 gallon fermenting batches, made only minor changes in the brews with things like hops, used the same yeast starter in both 5 gallon batches and one is blowing and going and the other is showing no outward signs.
Both batches are sitting in the same tub of ice water to control the temperature of the fermentation also.

He said he opened the lid on the bucket and it's in suspension and there is turbulence from the fermentation though.
Leave it be and it will be beer soon.


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Old 12-17-2012, 11:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, Sharps.

RE: "My only question would be what do you mean by a warm place?"

I kept it in a warmish part the kitchen near the stove. No warmer than 80 degrees, though. Still think its going to be all right?
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:35 PM   #4
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It should be fine but you want to keep the starter in conditions more in keeping with what the yeast wants when it's fermenting, except lots of oxygen the whole time since the whole time should be spent growing the yeast population.

Each type of yeast has a range it likes best, but they are all going to be quite a bit cooler than that. What sort of temp are you fermenting at and did you check out what the yeast is supposed to be at?
Remember, the actual fermenting wort can be several degrees warmer than the air around the bucket.

Give it a few days, look for signs of activity visually, check the hydrometer.
You may have actually reduced the amount of yeast you pitched at that temperature, but there should be enough for it to grow and make beer.
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:41 PM   #5
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i use an old wine jug for my starters just make sure you give it swirl every time you go by it for the first day. This will help tghe aeration of the starter. It is cheaper than a stir plate.
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waynep005 View Post
i use an old wine jug for my starters just make sure you give it swirl every time you go by it for the first day. This will help tghe aeration of the starter. It is cheaper than a stir plate.
That's close to what I do, but I am going to build a stir plate.
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboelestoe View Post
... I started the yeast around 10 am and didn't pitch it until around 1 pm. ...
Please clarify - 3 hours for the starter?
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Old 12-18-2012, 03:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 45_70sharps View Post
What sort of temp are you fermenting at and did you check out what the yeast is supposed to be at?
I'm fermenting at 68 degrees. Unfortunately, in the excitement of the moment, I didn't hang onto the yeast packet. I feel like I made a lot of mistakes with this first brew. Hopefully, next brew will go better...

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Please clarify - 3 hours for the starter?
Yep, three hours for the starter.
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:31 AM   #9
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Three hours isn't a chance for a starter to do any good.
If it was dry yeast, it did get to re hydrate.

Mistakes will happen. They will happen less with experience.
You will find that more often than not you still have beer that you can enjoy drinking.
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:52 AM   #10
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What kind of yeast?
Liquid or dry yeast?
What was the gravity of the starter wort?
Did you swirl the jar real well to mix the yeast into liquid before you pitch?

A little more info will be very helpful.


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